Archive for the ‘SBDC’ Category

Certification for Shredder

August 29, 2008
According to Trans Union , a credit bureau, New York State ranks in the top ten in highest incident rate of identity theft per person nationally and the most popular source of information for identitiy theft is employer records.

Michael Hasting is an aspiring African-American entrepreneur with a dream of making Omega Secure-Shred a mega business. Recognizing the onslaught of document security threats, he founded his Troy located mobile document shredding company in March of 2007.

The company was growing steadily through a well thought out marketing strategy, but realized that there could be additional opportunities through certification in New York State’s Minority and Woman Owned Enterprise program. Since, he passed the one year anniversary of his start the three to four month application process began with the assistance of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

We have found with MWBE certifications that the most important advantage is not necessarily the certification, but what the company does with the certification once it is granted. Many view the certification as the magic beans that will have customers breaking down their doors to do business. Unfortunately that is not reality and persistent and tenacious selling and marketing their products and services still falls to the business. Instead of solely utilizing the MWBE certification as a marketing strategy, Omega Secure-Shred utilizes their certification as a component of an otherwise sound marketing strategy; coupled with a valuable service that is in demand within the market.

 

Successful MWBE companies have taken the initiative to seek out the business in both the public and private sectors utilizing both government set asides and corporate supplier diversity programs. Hasting’s portable shredding business has negotiated contracts with two NYS agencies, RPI, and four large private firms under supplier diversity programs.

 

Through their MWBE certification, Omega Secure-Shred is given a greater opportunity in bidding on NYS contracts by creating an avenue for the agency to comply with MWBE set asides. In addition to the NYS contracts, Omega Secure-Shred uses their certification as an added benefit for companies that have supplier diversity programs and purchasing departments that are looking to fulfill the company’s commitment to supplier diversity.

 

 

 

 

 

Shredder Truck

Omega Shredder Truck

Minority and Women Owned Businesses Need Certification

August 25, 2008

One of the most often asked question at the Small Business Deveopment Center: what programs are available for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE)?

The answer is simple, but the process can be complex. In a competitive business-to-business and business-to-government market, certification can make the difference between securing a procurement contract or not.

Certification does not result in buyers breaking down your door to do business, but it is an important piece of your overall marketing strategy. As a tool certification creates greater exposure with inclusion in many databases and directories specific to minority and women owned designated companies.

Also, certification provides access to government and larger Fortune 1000 companies opportunities that set-aside certain percentages of contracts to MWBEs. Most of these organizations will not do business with diverse companies without certification. The designation states that your company has at least 51 percent minority and women ownership and that you control and operate that business.

The certification designation also provides a level of credibility and viability for a small business. It shows that the company passed an examination of business records, references, and overall business practices. Another sign of viability is the requirement for a business to be operating for at least one year for state and two years for federal certification.

Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, administers the MWBE state certification program. The program is designed to assist in the growth and development of MWBEs with the overall goal of increasing participation of those businesses in New York State procurement opportunities.

Upon certification, a MWBE is officially recognized by State agencies and authorities as a source of goods and services. These companies are also indentified in directories that are used beyond New York State by the federal government and major corporations.

The federal certification program, the SBA 8(a) program, has different requirements and can be somewhat lengthy. For the time being I would suggest going through the State certification and file an 8(a) application on a later date. This will also give you an idea as to whether or not the procurement programs are working for you.

If you are small company that is not interested in becoming a supplier to large corporations and governmental agencies, you will not benefit. And you should consider how your type of business products and services fit into the market place. For instance, retailers would not be good candidates, while I know a local women-owned painting company that has done well with state contracts.

The best place to start is Empire State Development where you can find further criteria and applications. Also, utilize local business development groups for assistance. Many organizations such as the SBDC have a staff member specifically dedicated to helping businesses through the certification process. There are also various training workshops that focus on certification, for example, check out this event.

Friday, October 17th

Why certify as a minority- or woman-owned business?

Sponsor: McKenna, Long & Aldridge LLP

Valuable procurement opportunities are widely available for minority- and woman-owned business enterprises (MWBE), and contractors are constantly seeking to work with these companies. Presented by the Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Assistance Program, this informative event features Michael Jones-Bey, Executive Director, NYS Division of Minority and Women Business Development, who will discuss the many benefits of MWBE certification and how to use your certification to generate new business. Embrace the opportunities that await you. It just might be one of the best business decisions you’ll ever make.

8:30am – 10:00am / the Desmond, 660 Albany-Shaker Road, Albany / Cost: $10, open to the public

 

Business Junkie

August 13, 2008

Meet Bill Brigham. He’s a “business junkie”.  After working in and around small businesses for the last 25 years what else would you expect. 

Bill & his family in Ecuador

Bill & his family in Ecuador

Bill is the director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), at the University at Albany. The Center is staffed with 10 Business Advisors that provide free one-on-one counseling to existing and startup small businesses, including: business planning, marketing, creating financial statements, and training. “Some business owners just want to talk or bounce ideas off us, so we sit down and guide them through the problems and issues that they face.”

Beyond his business obsesssion, Bill is a distance runner and golfer and recently spent two weeks in Ecuador where he and his family learned about the cloud forest and the indigenous people. Not a typical vacation for a suit & tie bureaucrat (whatever that is).

Prior to the SBDC, Bill was the Marketing Manager and the Vice President for two local family-owned manufacturing firms – the ideal on the job training for what he does today. It involved sales and marketing, product development, quality control, production scheduling, figuring out how to make payroll along with the typical “putting out fires” of small business management. Bill’s toughest decision: laying off 40 people three weeks after Christmas. (We’ll hear more about that in a future blog).

In addition to first-hand experience, Bill is an SBDC Certified Business Advisor. For five years prior to becoming the Director ten years ago, he worked on a pilot SBDC program that was structured as a three person “swat” team to trouble-shoot distressed family businesses in New York State. He also teaches an e-commerce business planning course in the University’s MBA program. “This keeps me in tune with current trends and issues.  It also allows me to feed off the enthusiasm and unique perspectives of a group of extremely intelligent young people.”

What do you like most about your job?
“We empower people! We make entrepreneurs successful!  Also, the diversity of the region’s businesses involves working in “pizza to aerospace”.  Analyzing and assisting existing businesses is a welcome challenge.”

What is the biggest pitfall for new business owners?
“The obvious, lack of capital, planning, and experience.  Simply put, small businesses are victims of what they don’t know.   My best advice for someone starting a new business or even an existing business: Plan Plan Plan.  Also, use the resources that are out there.”

The SBDC at the University at Albany staff is comprised of serial entrepreneurs, former business owners, and technology and economic developers. The services are tailored for any small business (500 employees or less), start-up or existing.   The program specializes in business planning, financial analysis, strategic planning, marketing, international trade, and even has access to a 5 business librarian research network, which includes pro blogger Roger Green, that supports the entire 23 center network with market research for clients.  The services are of great value, even though the services are free.  

The SBDC: Here to make New York State businesses successful.